When it comes to my own home, sometimes I get an itch that only a quick decorating idea can scratch. It often happens when I’ve spent too long staring at a particular wall in any room – suddenly, I need a change and before you know it I’m embarking on a new DIY project.
The spontaneity of these projects means two things – one, they don’t always necessarily have a 100% success rate, and two, they often rely on what I’ve already got in my DIY supplies. Regardless, it just goes to show what you can achieve with an idea, a few materials and a whole lot of determination.
With the days drawing in and the season we spend the most time entertaining in our homes fast approaching, you might not be up for a big project right now, so we’ve collected 10 of the best, most impactful things you can do in your home right now. They’re the perfect weekend project if you’re looking to shake things up.
Luke Arthur Wells
Luke is a design writer and award winning blogger, who is known for his creative DIYs shared through his blog and social media accounts. Here, he’s picked out some quick and relatively easy projects that will have major impact, but take less than a day.
Quick decorating ideas to do in a day (or less)
1. Tackle the hallway or entryway
While your first instinct might be to spend time re-decorating your living room at this time of year, a hallway or entryway is a much smaller job, and has the most impact per square foot. It’s your home’s first impression, for one, while these transitional spaces both afford you to go a little bolder and create spaces the whole family can enjoy.
This rainbow painted staircase created by interior designer Alison Damonte (opens in new tab) is an extreme case in point, but helps set the tone for a home that’s full of color and character. ‘Instead of painting the stairs an obvious choice like white we went for a jumbled rainbow of color that entices you up the stairs,’ Alison tells us. ‘To make things interesting we mixed up the order of the colors so the palette doesn’t transition traditionally through the spectrum.’
2. Make a new headboard
Making your own headboard may sound like a job for the experts, but if you choose a design that’s simple to recreate, you can create something effective within a couple of hours.
I made this headboard, inspired by a beautiful bespoke design found on Pinterest, with just a sheet of MDF, a jigsaw, a roll of fabric, some wadding and a staple gun, while removing this dated oak bed frame original headboard, and painting the rest of the frame black. Super simple, yet transformative for this modern bedroom scheme.
3. Add a stripe
If you’re looking for low-effort, high-impact projects, embracing an interesting paint idea is the answer. ‘Paint effects can be a good way to change the look and feel of a room on a tight budget,’ says interior designer Sophie Chapman, an associate at The Vawdrey House (opens in new tab). ‘At a recent project where there was little of architectural significance in the room, we added a large yellow stripe to the wall to add a focal backdrop for lovely furniture.’
Yes, it’s a bold, eye-catching intervention, but it benefits the room’s design, too. ‘This helped to guide the eye to the main part of the room and the key items of furniture that we wanted to focus on,’ Sophie explains. ‘This works especially well in large open plan spaces that need anchoring and defining.’
4. Re-arrange your bookshelves
We all love a good bookshelf right? Books can deliver a beautiful backdrop for our homes, but when it comes to displaying them, taking a more purposeful approach to book organization than by alphabetical order will only improve the look of your home.
The most impactful way to style your bookshelf? By color coordinating it in a rainbow gradient. ‘It creates a rainbow effect which is an effective way to introduce color and pattern to a space using books you already have and love,’ says Emma Deterding, founder of Kelling Designs (opens in new tab).
However, you could also re-arrange thinking about size, by smaller blocks of color, while also contrasting books stacked horizontally and vertically. It’s a small detail that will completely change the character bookshelves bring to your home.
5. Re-hang your curtains
Curtains take such a dominant role in an interior scheme – big vertical pillars that often bookend a room, so ensuring they’re sitting pretty is all-important. However, if you’ve inherited curtains with a home, or they’ve been hung in a way that makes them not quite the modern window treatment you now have in mind, remedying this can be a relatively quick job.
Most important, is ensuring that your curtains aren’t blocking too much light from your windows, something that poorly hung curtains often do. ‘Always account for room on the sides of your window for the drape “stackback,”‘ explains Davina Ogilvie, Founder of Wovn Home (opens in new tab). ‘This is the space to either side of your window that the drapes will occupy when drawn open. Not allowing for enough stackback means that your drapes will block some of the light coming through the window when all the way open.’
Opting for a longer curtain rod for this reason, while also hanging it higher above your window, will be some of the most transformative things you can do with your window treatments.
6. Re-arrange your furniture
Re-arranging your furniture is a job that doesn’t require anything, apart from a little heavy lifting, but is probably the idea on this list that will most transform your home, especially when you’re looking at something like a small living room layout.
While switching over sofas and chairs, or re-positioning larger furniture like a bed, will make the biggest changes (and don’t worry you can change it back if you don’t like it), even something like swapping over side tables from room to room can be enough to inject some much-needed freshness into your space.
7. Try this viral lighting hack
Good lighting makes all the difference, but it’s not something we usually consider as a DIY project – after all, installing new lighting is a job best left to a professional. Of course, that takes time, planning and money, so creative DIYers have come up with a way of bringing the extra drama to their rooms that an extra wall sconce or pendant light can provide, with no strings (or in this case wires) attached .
The answer? Cut the wires of your fixture short, and fix to the wall wherever you want your new light to be. Then, fit your fixture with one of these rechargeable, remote-controlled magic light bulbs from Amazon (opens in new tab). Now, you have a new light to round out your room’s lighting scheme, with no electrician required. Why not use this idea to add hanging pendant bedroom lighting over your nightstands, as in this project by Tandem Interiors (opens in new tab)?
8. Install LED strip lighting
Another way rechargeable lighting can be introduced into your home is through strip LED lighting. You can find plenty of LED strip lights on Amazon (opens in new tab)both battery-powered, rechargeable or with a mains socket connection, that can be peeled and stuck to surfaces in your home to emulate some of the best designer lighting looks.
It could be along the back of shelves, under a pelmet, or even as accent lighting for an interesting architectural detail like a ceiling. Of course, it’s not quite as good as wired-in LED lights, as you can control those from the main lightswitch and you won’t need to re-charge them, or deal with fiddly wires, but spending a little more for smart, app-controlled LED strips will make them almost as good as the real thing.
9. Re-style your coffee table
Re-styling the coffee table might be something you do on a weekly (if not daily) basis, but if your home has become a little stagnant, you’d be surprised what clearing deck and re-imagining your coffee table decor can do for your space.
‘Playing with contrasting materials and colors can create delicious tension for the eyes,’ interior designer Leyden Lewis (opens in new tab) tells us. ‘By placing even just a few bright, bold, solid objects atop a coffee table, the eye is drawn in and centers the room.;
It can have more of an effect on the surrounding living room furniture than you might think, too. ‘Adding a vertical element to a coffee table can help break up the similar heights of surrounding furniture by drawing the viewer’s eye up,’ Leyden suggests. ‘This untethers the grounded-ness of the seating and can encourage visual play between the furniture and wall art.’